The GOP base vs the NRSC

THE GOP BASE VS THE NRSC…. When Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) announced yesterday that he’s running for the Senate next year, the Republican Party started feeling pretty good for a change. Crist, who enters the race as a favorite, gives the GOP a fairly good chance at keeping a key Senate seat, and sends a larger signal about relative moderates still feeling welcome in the party.

The party’s activist base, however, has a far different take.

Uh oh — the conservative backlash against the national GOP for its endorsement of moderate, stimulus-supporting Governor Charlie Crist in the GOP primary continues apace.

Top right wing blogger Erick Erickson of RedState.com is now calling for conservatives to stop giving money to the NRSC over the endorsement of Crist, who is running against conservative former House Speaker Mark Rubio.

Erickson denounced the NRSC’s decision to endorse Crist as “wholly unacceptable,” adding: “If the NRSC thinks this is smart, we must not waste our time or energy with them. Join me in pledging no money, no help, no aid, and no support for the NRSC’s efforts in the 2010 election cycle.”

In an apparent reference to rumors surrounding the Florida governor’s personal life, Erickson later tweeted that NRSC support for Crist “will blow up in their face big time when the salacious stuff comes out.”

The far-right party base was already annoyed when the NRSC lobbied Tom Ridge, another relative moderate, to run in Pennsylvania, but support for Crist seems to have exacerbated the frustrations.

Erickson isn’t alone on this. Matt Lewis reported on the conservative bloggers’ widespread frustrations with party leaders, most notably on recruiting and 2010 strategy.

There are a long 15 months between now and Florida gubernatorial primary. Expect the tensions between the party and the base to grow increasingly fervent.

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